Pro-Democracy Activists Call for Removal of Chinese Communist Flag in San Francisco

August 18, 2020 Updated: August 18, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO—About 100 pro-democracy activists gathered in Chinatown’s Portsmouth Square on Aug. 16 to call for the flag of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to be removed from the city.

Their white shirts read, “Deport All CCP Agents!” Their black signs read, “Free Hong Kong.”

Several speakers explained the event’s significance. They expressed that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) does not represent the Chinese people.

Epoch Times Photo
Fang Zheng (L) sits next to a banner that reads, “Urge pro-communist associations to remove the Five-Starred Red Flag.” (Ilene Eng/The Epoch Times)

Fang Zheng, a survivor of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, sat in his wheelchair next to the main banner, which read, “Urge pro-communist associations to remove the Five-Starred Red Flag,” and “Give all Chinatowns a clean sky free of CCP pollution.”

They have two goals, he told The Epoch Times. One is to write letters to San Francisco city officials urging them not to raise the red flag anymore. Between now and Oct. 1, the National Day of the People’s Republic of China, they will host events with mainstream media and advertise.

The other goal is to urge pro-communist associations to remove the red flag.

“We just saw [an association] already lowering the flag. Perhaps they feel that it should not be flown anymore. It’s a good thing, isn’t it?” Zheng said. “If everyone tries a little and builds momentum, there will be change, they will feel pressured, and they will change.”

Epoch Times Photo
Hong Kong supporters show support for removing the PRC flag in San Francisco. (Ilene Eng/The Epoch Times)

Hong Kong Supporters

The banner lists 10 of the CCP’s evil deeds as well as reasons why the flag should not fly in the United States.

It criticized the CCP’s national security law that has led to many arrests in Hong Kong and has received backlash from protesters.

Rick Weyrich, from Vallejo, California, is a Hong Kong supporter and has been attending the annual Tiananmen Square Massacre candlelight vigil for the last 10 years.

“Over the years and through the last few events and the last few months, I think we’ve really seen the true character of the Chinese Communist Party,” Weyrich told The Epoch Times. “I think for years a number of Americans have been slightly naive about China and the Chinese Communist Party … because of all the economic benefits that the United States has gotten.”

Weyrich believes the event is good because it means people have a voice to criticize the CCP. He attended the event to support the real people of China, not the CCP.

“The Chinese Communist Party does not really represent people that live in the United States that are of Chinese descent. And I think that’s really important,” he said.

Epoch Times Photo
Protester Alex Leung carries the Taiwanese flag. (Ilene Eng/The Epoch Times)

Alex Leung, originally from Hong Kong, drove up from Los Angeles to show his support.

“This event is very meaningful. We want to tell the world that even though there is a pandemic going on, we still need to stand out,” Leung told The Epoch Times.

Fuji apples were passed around in support of Apple Daily, a Hong Kong newspaper, and its owner Jimmy Lai, a pro-democracy activist.

Refugees from China

In 2017, Tianshi Chen escaped from China to California. He was the head of a student propaganda department in 1989. After the Tiananmen Square Massacre, the government pursued him. He has been jailed three times.

“Those in my generation who were born and raised under the red flag know its true nature,” Chen told The Epoch Times. “The CCP is an evil spirit that came from Europe. It has harmed Chinese citizens for almost 100 years. It is an evil cult, a people’s religion. In the name of serving people, they torture us, persecute us, and deprive us.”

Epoch Times Photo
Fuji apples are passed out to show support for Apple Daily in Hong Kong. (Ilene Eng/The Epoch Times)

Jiaqi Zhang came to the United States three years ago for freedom and democracy. She hopes that the CCP agents will leave the United States so the Chinese in America can relax.

Back in China, Zhang was taken in for questioning and put in jail for voicing her opinion against the CCP’s actions.

“I really cherish the opportunity to escape from China and come to the U.S.,” Zhang told The Epoch Times. “I hope everyone can get together to support democracy and reject the CCP. Only this way will China have hope, and its citizens will not have to endure such long-term oppression and corruption.”

After the rally at Portsmouth Square, they walked around Chinatown and left flyers for associations, urging them to take down the red flags.

They intend to keep doing so every week until the flags are removed.

With reporting by Nancy Han.